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Social Work Exam Practice: Family Systems

family system connected or enmeshedSome free social work licensing exam practice:

A family meets with a social worker following a teenage daughter's breakup with her boyfriend. The mother states that she really liked the boy and has felt very depressed since the breakup. The father has tried to contact the boy in hopes of repairing the relationship. According to a family systems theory-based approach, what is MOST LIKELY happening in this family?

A. The family has connected relationships.

B. It is an enmeshed family system.

C. It is a disengaged family system.

D. It is a separated family system.

What's your answer?

Do you know this material? If not, how do you get to a best, educated guess? Sometimes, common sense is your best guide. Common sense and some simple psych vocabulary.

In the vignette, the mother is depressed by the breakup. The father is meddling. The parents are pretty clearly overreaching. So what answer does that sound like?

Let's take the offerings one at a time:

A. Connected. A connected family enjoys time together but also have separate friendships and interests. This family appears too involved in one another's business to be truly connected.

B. Enmeshed. The mother's depression following the breakup, and the father's attempt to repair the relationship, are signs that this family is enmeshed. Mark this one as a good possibility.

C. Disengaged. Disengaged families have very little emotional connection, usually don't spend much time together, and aren't impacted by one another's activities. Not it.

D. Separated family systems don't have a lot of shared connections, though they do have a few activities they enjoy doing together. Again, not it.

So you have your answer. Enmeshed families do not respect one another's boundaries. They tend to focus on everyone else's business rather than self-care. The lack of privacy in enmeshed families often leads to conflict.

You might have narrowed this down to connected vs. enmeshed. If you'd never heard of the enmeshment, you might have been tempted to pick connected. But the word has probably entered your world at some point. If not, you know it now. You're ready for a question like this on the AWSB exam.

To get really ready, practice with SWTP's complete 170-question exams. There are thorough rationales, plus suggested study links, for every answer of every question. Sign up to get started.

Good luck on the exam!

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